Healthcare workforce shortages have increased dramatically since the COVID-19 pandemic as hospitals and health systems across the country battle to attract and retain talent, including primary and specialty physicians, nurses and administrative staff.
By 2030, the shortage of physicians in the U.S. is expected to reach 121,300, with the orthopedic sector anticipating a physician deficit of 5,050 and neurosurgery expecting a deficit of 1,200, according to a report by advisory group Physicians Thrive. California, Florida and Texas, where orthopedic growth is booming, are the states expecting the most significant physician shortages through 2030.
The main reasons the projected physician shortage is so large for orthopedics stem from the number of surgeons approaching retirement and the rate at which America’s older population is increasing.
According to the Census Bureau, more than 54 million adults ages 65 and older live in the U.S., accounting for about 16.5 percent of the population. And the older adult population is growing: By 2050, the number of adults 65 and older is projected to increase to 85.7 million — roughly 20 percent of the population.
“If you just look at joint replacement in general, as baby boomers are getting older and needing more joint replacements, there’s going to be a shortage of joint replacement surgeons,” Richard Berger, MD, of Chicago-based Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush, told Becker’s.